As I write these words, the start of the Virgil Crest ultramarathon is just 36 or so hours away. The moment of truth is nearly here. To be honest, there’s not much to be said in this race preview that hasn’t already been said here, here, here, and here.
There’s about one week left to still donate to the 3rd Annual Gluten-Free Ultramarathon Challenge, which supports the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. Our three-year total has surpassed $9,000 (woohoo!) and the 2012 total is right at 50% of my goal of raising $5,000 ($100 per mile).
The race takes place in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, about half an hour east of Kelli’s hometown, so we’ll be staying with family for the weekend, as we have in previous years for this race as well. We’ll make the four-hour drive tonight, so that tomorrow I can avoid sitting in the car for extended periods of time, which tends to make my legs feel heavy and a bit dead. Tomorrow I’ll prep food, pick up my bib number, and attend the pre-race briefing.
For nutrition, I’m planning to keep it simple … even more so than for the Finger Lakes Fifties ultra earlier this summer. I’ll be hydrating with my trusted First Endurance Electrolyte Fuel System and carrying a gel flask of First Endurance EFS Liquid Shot. In the aid stations, it’ll be chocolate, oranges, bananas, some soda (probably root beer or orange Fanta or Sprite), and I doubt much else. It’s amazing how limited those options are compared to my first Virgil Crest, when Kelli and I brought a veritable gluten-free bakery and restaurant to the race with us. But I’m learning—thirst, more than anything, dictates what I can manage to eat. It’s got to go down easy. I might tweak things a bit between now and the race, but not by much.
Then—if past races are any indication—I’ll try to go to bed early Friday night, but won’t be able to, because I’ll be too excited to race. Saturday morning, I’ll wake around 4:00am (likely before my alarm goes off), eat breakfast, double check that I have all my gear and gluten-free food, and plan to arrive at the race start sometime between 5:00 and 5:30am. The race starts at 6:00am between flaming torches with the blowing of a ram’s horn.
As of right now, there’s a chance of evening rain showers the night before the race, but it doesn’t look like it’ll be anything close to last year, when we got drenched and muddy. The weather for race day looks pretty good for running—a high around 70, with a low somewhere in the high 40s to low 50s. There’s a 40% chance of scattered storms throughout the day, which should further help to keep things cool (though hopefully not too wet and muddy).
From past years, we know that cell service throughout much of the course ranges from spotty to non-existent, so we’re not even going to try and tweet and Facebook the race live. If you want to follow along on race day, there are a few options:
1. Check the live race leader board. Make sure to click the “VCU 50M” option, and look for my name—”Peter Bronski.” That’ll give you a sense for how I’m stacking up against the field.
2. Visit the Race Center, which will update throughout the day with runner statuses.
3. Visit my runner page, which will have my splits as I pass through each checkpoint.
4. Finally, receive text updates sent directly to your phone by race organizers. Click on the cell phone icon next to my name and sign up to receive messages on your mobile phone with my status.
Otherwise, I’m signing off. See you next week on the other side of this race with a report here on the blog. I can’t predict how the race will go, but I guarantee this much: there’s always a good story to tell.